Bubble Watch: 'Wonderland,' 'Beauty And The Beast' & 'Nashville' Head For Cancellation, 'Tomorrow People' Towards Renewal

Categories: Bubble Watch

Written By

October 13th, 2013


When it comes to bubble status, like the Renew/Cancel Index we're focusing on the likelihood that a show will be renewed **for next season** (2014-15).  Certain shows are toss-ups where based on the ratings, the renewal decisions could go either way and not be surprising.

Here, “canceled” is used interchangeably with “won’t be renewed for next season” and is not meant to imply a show will be yanked off the schedule in the current season though obviously the two outcomes are not mutually exclusive. The semantics police and lawyers should feel free to break out the handcuffs and plead their cases in the comments. 

This Isn't The Renew/Cancel Index

Though the basic methodology is the same (intra-network relative ranking of shows by adults 18-49 ),unlike the Renew/Cancel Index which predicts what would happen if the season ended now, Bubble Watch prognosticates about what will happen by May. The two are still usually closely aligned, and almost certainly very closely aligned towards the end of the season.

Network Goals: The 2013-2014 Schedule Summary

At this year’s upfronts, I saw a number of articles exclaiming how the author didn’t know why Network X had the schedule they did. Personally, each network’s goals seemed clear and reasonable. My views on each network’s goal (and how various shows are doing this week) follows:


Primary Goal: Avoid more leaks.

A mountain of ink (and pixels) has been written about NBC’s struggles over the last half decade. The truth of the matter is that ABC hasn’t fared much better; roughly one success a season has given the impression they aren’t in shambles.

ABC’s situation is so shaky that their goal was simple: leave any veteran doing even adequate ratings where it was and try new shows in the holes on the schedule. The last thing the network needs is to move, say, Castle, and have it fall apart in its new timeslot and the show that replaced Castle fail as well. None of the veterans have significantly fallen apart from last year, but the rookies haven’t fared so well:

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has fallen almost 40% since its premiere; this week’s rating was still the third highest drama on TV (The Blacklist & Scandal were tied for first). In no surprise, the show was given a backorder.

The Goldbergs, even with that lead-in, has fallen below all the veteran comedies. Its survival probably depends on how many comedy hours ABC goes with next year.

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland premiered at only 75% of ABC’s scripted average for the year. Chalk up another one to the ABC Death Slot.


Primary Goal: Try new comedies.

Secondary Goal: Investigate 10pm options.

CBS has a rare problem: too many of their comedies were successes. The catch is that How I Met Your Mother is ending, Two and a Half Men is getting old and expensive, and Mike & Molly isn’t a break-out hit. How does CBS aim for multiple new comedies to replenish the ranks when they only have one or two timeslots to work with?

Answer: Expand to four comedy hours (and eat NBC’s former lunch in the process).

However, the gambit hasn’t particularly worked, so far:

We Are Men only dropped 10% in Week 2. However, it started off so low that the first two weeks’ numbers led to its cancellation, and a schedule shuffle on Monday.

Mom will now have The Big Bang Theory repeats as its lead-in for a few weeks; I am unconvinced they will goose Mom enough before the backorder decision has to be made.

The Millers only dropped 9% in Week 2; score another victory for the power of The Big Bang Theory.

The Crazy Ones still hasn’t settled, dropping another 17% this week. One single-cam already down; one more to go?

As for 10pm, people like to say that CBS is immune to how TV works nowadays. This is wrong. CBS still feels the pressures the rest of the industry faces, they just feel them roughly 5 years after NBC does. First Friday fell apart, then Sunday, and now the 10pm hour. (This sort of temporal shift isn’t uncommon; for a while ABC was running one year behind NBC).

To combat this, CBS tried everything they could this year in the hour:

Hostages, a serial with a well-known cast and high production values, continues to flounder and won’t be renewed.

Person of Interest was CBS’ newest drama hit; at 10pm, it has dropped down to numbers equivalent to what CSI and Elementary do.

CSI and Elementary continue to chug along, though no one will be shouting about their numbers.

Or to review, the expensive serial didn’t work, nor did the fresh contender break out. I think CSI and its ilk will be running for years at 10pm, as long as they can continue to cycle out expensive cast members.


Primary Goal: Avoid Singing Competitions

CW doesn’t have much real estate to work with; even worse, what little they have plays chicken with the kinds of singing competitions favored by the W18-34 the network used to target.

Hart of Dixie was thrown under The Voice bus; only down a tick or so from Tuesdays last year, it will hit its syndication lap next year, even if it ends up on Fridays.

Beauty & The Beast didn’t fare so well vs. The Voice, dropping 40% from how it ended last year. If it drops any more, it has a very real chance of being swapped out for The Carrie Diaries.

The Originals, not up against a new The Voice, did as well in its regular timeslot as Arrow did this week.

Supernatural returned as the #1 rated show of the week for The CW. Frankly, the show’s survival is one of the more interesting stories of The CW’s history.

The Tomorrow People did as well as its Arrow lead-in against The X-Factor. If it holds up as well against AI, it’ll be back next year.


Primary Goal: Grow new dramas.

Fox doesn’t have much in the way of dramas – Bones is getting older, Glee is only a hit amongst W18-34, and who knows how The Following will return. So cue a schedule that allows Fox to aim all their promotional power at one new drama at a time.

Sleepy Hollow already succeeded in getting a second season – though not a backorder, as the schedule is already overcrowded with unscheduled Glee and Gang Related episodes. Next up to bat: Almost Human.


Primary Goal: Use The Voice.

Secondary Goal: Reboot Thursdays.

The Voice and Sunday Night Football are the only real strengths of NBC’s schedule. NBC wisely decided to use The Voice to aid their dramas: to give The Blacklist a healthy start and try and bump Chicago Fire into the kind of show that anchors a night.

Chicago Fire, airing after a The Voice clip show, was up about half a point vs. its performance on Wednesdays late last year. The Voice seems to be working.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Thursdays, as the entire lineup tied or did worse than Parks & Recreation did against The Big Bang Theory. That sort of performance doesn’t make you wonder about how they schedule the night next year, it makes you wonder about who will do it.

Note: only scripted shows that have aired at least one episode this season are in the table below.

Show Network Status
Lucky 7 ABC Canceled
How I Met Your Mother CBS Final Season
We Are Men CBS Canceled
American Dad Fox Moving to TBS
Back In The Game ABC Cancellation Predicted
Betrayal ABC Cancellation Predicted
Nashville ABC Cancellation Predicted
The Neighbors ABC Cancellation Predicted
Once Upon a Time in Wonderland ABC Cancellation Predicted
Trophy Wife ABC Cancellation Predicted
The Good Wife CBS Cancellation Predicted
Hawaii Five-0 CBS Cancellation Predicted
Hostages CBS Cancellation Predicted
The Mentalist CBS Cancellation Predicted
Mom CBS Cancellation Predicted
Beauty & The Beast CW Cancellation Predicted
Brooklyn Nine-Nine Fox Cancellation Predicted
Dads Fox Cancellation Predicted
The Mindy Project Fox Cancellation Predicted
Ironside NBC Cancellation Predicted
Parenthood NBC Cancellation Predicted
Revolution NBC Cancellation Predicted
Sean Saves The World NBC Cancellation Predicted
Welcome To The Family NBC Cancellation Predicted
The Goldbergs ABC On The Bubble
Super Fun Night ABC On The Bubble
Two and a Half Men CBS On The Bubble
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ABC Renewal Predicted
Castle ABC Renewal Predicted
Grey's Anatomy ABC Renewal Predicted
Last Man Standing ABC Renewal Predicted
The Middle ABC Renewal Predicted
Modern Family ABC Renewal Predicted
Once Upon a Time ABC Renewal Predicted
Revenge ABC Renewal Predicted
Scandal ABC Renewal Predicted
The Big Bang Theory CBS Renewal Predicted
Blue Bloods CBS Renewal Predicted
The Crazy Ones CBS Renewal Predicted
Criminal Minds CBS Renewal Predicted
CSI CBS Renewal Predicted
Elementary CBS Renewal Predicted
The Millers CBS Renewal Predicted
NCIS CBS Renewal Predicted
NCIS: LA CBS Renewal Predicted
Person of Interest CBS Renewal Predicted
2 Broke Girls CBS Renewal Predicted
Arrow CW Renewal Predicted
Hart of Dixie CW Renewal Predicted
The Originals CW Renewal Predicted
Supernatural CW Renewal Predicted
The Tomorrow People CW Renewal Predicted
The Vampire Diaries CW Renewal Predicted
Bones Fox Renewal Predicted
Family Guy Fox Renewal Predicted
The New Girl Fox Renewal Predicted
The Blacklist NBC Renewal Predicted
Chicago Fire NBC Renewal Predicted
Law & Order: SVU NBC Renewal Predicted
The Michael J Fox Show NBC Renewal Predicted
Parks & Recreation NBC Renewal Predicted
Bob's Burgers Fox Renewed
Glee Fox Renewed
The Simpsons Fox Renewed
Sleepy Hollow Fox Renewed


  • Shepherd


    When it comes to a renewal, whether or not Wonderland is a great program is irrelevant; the ratings are all that matter, and the ratings were anything but stellar. It’s not my type of program, but I found Wonderland far more entertaining than OUaT’s premier, and yet comparing their prospects after their premier numbers were out, it was clear that OUaT had a good chance at renewal while Wonderland simply does not.

  • Jonay

    Can Someone please explain why NBC did no premire a. New comedy after the America’s got Talent Finale???

  • Steven

    I hope revolution still gets renewed I love the show :(

  • DougF

    “Frankly, the show’s survival is one of the more interesting stories of The CW’s history.”

    Eh, not really. Being one of the top two or three rated shows on a network every season gets you renewed.

  • carole

    CBS can cancel all it’s new trash comedies.
    Cancel Elementary. I only watch because there is nothing better on at that time. I can’t understand a word Sherlock says. Thank goodness for CC.

  • andri

    Betrayal and Brooklyn 9-9 r the only shows worthier of saving regarding slaughter predictions. Bobs burger’s. & glee r overindulging fox into ratings downfall frenzy. Bring back the fololwing and sleepy hollow in droves. Dads
    isn’t worth disneyland”int on tbs.CSI & bones r outdated.Last man standing, the middle, and new girl leave both networks barren of claiming Nielsen gains.Absolutely riding on ridiculous allowing Nbc executives renewing parks and recreation.
    Cbs possesses a slew of old shows such as criminal minds,of needed last season on the network, forcing other networks into new creative programming

  • Anthony

    Can Someone please explain why NBC did no premire a. New comedy after the America’s got Talent Finale???

    Because premiering new shows out of the AGT finale hasn’t worked for them in the past (existing shows such as Parenthood who premiere after it did okay, but new shows that they tried ended up crashing and burning).

  • Jake

    NBC needs to cancel all their Thu. night comedies, their comedies never do any good.
    NBC Thu. should look like this:
    8pm Celebrity Apprentice
    9pm Parenthood
    10pm Dateline

  • Sam

    H50 is getting a 1.4 with ST as only competition. When Grimm premieres, h50 will drop to 1.2 andcanceled by May .
    BB is a better show. 10 pm slot on Friday. Worse spot than h50. BB will get renewed.

  • Douglas frm Brazil

    Parks and Rec as a renewal predicted?Really?With a 1.2 rating, I don’t see a 7th season coming.By May, NBC will cancel every comedy of their line-up.They should try more in dramas( read: procedurals).Parks will lileky to be cancelled as Community too.Parenthood will get axed too.

  • r0ckmypants

    @Austin – “Nashville is almost the new SMASH!”

    No… nope, not even close.

  • r0ckmypants

    Why is this still called the “Bubble Watch” when you aren’t even using the bubble?

  • Haroon

    My CW prediction

    By mid-season

    8:00 Beauty and the Beast/Reign
    9:00 Star Crossed

    So I think BATB will get cancelled but Reign might as well, either way they will keep one of these shows, my bets are that they cancel Reign. Star crossed will follow after since they need to fill that gap.

    8:00 Arrow
    9:00 Supernatural

    These 2 are The CW’s biggest shows (and TVD) these two will get great numbers together.

    8:00 The tomorrow People
    9:00 The 100

    Both sci-fi and quite male based shows, The same type of fan base for both,The tomorrow people is likely to be renewed so putting the 100 after it is a good move.

    8:00 The vampire Diaries
    9:00 The Originals

    The originals is a spin off of TVD so it would make sense to put them together, both fan bases are the same really.

    8:00 Hart of Dixie
    9:00 The carrie diaries

    These 2 are quite feminine shows and would fit well together.

  • Jake

    CBS needs to go on & cancel Mom, Hostages, & Two & 1/2 Men. Move Crazy to Mon. 8:30, put Mike & Molly on at 9pm, move 2 Broke Girls to 9:30.
    CBS ratings would do better if they did this:
    8p How…Mother
    8:30 Crazy Ones
    9p Mike & Molly
    9:30 2 Broke Girls
    10p CSI

    8p NCIS
    9p NCIS:LA
    10p NEW DRAMA- Intelligence

    8p Survivor
    9p NEW DRAMA- NCIS: New Orleans
    10p Criminal Minds

    8p Big Bang Theory
    8:30 The Millers
    9p Person Of Interest
    10p Elementary

    8p Undercover Boss
    9p Hawaii 5-0
    10p Blue Bloods

    7p 60min.
    8p Amazing Race
    9p Good Wife
    10p Mentalist

    I think this would give CBS better ratings. What everyone else think?

  • 3terms4obama

    Tom, perhaps you could explain why you continue to predict a cancellation for Revolution despite steady ratings and being at ~85% of NBC’s scripted average, bound to grow as a percentage of the average as other shows especially Thursday comedies collapse. Meanwhile, Michael J. Fox’s show at a 1.2 in its third episode is a likely renewal?

    Looks like NBC really should have renewed one of Go On or The New Normal and cut the comedy time in half.

  • Revfan

    I think Revolution gets renewed unless it falls below a 1.4. I think it is the new Chuck/Fringe and it does well on Netflix’s.
    Revolution has the same amount of viewers it had for its finale in S1. Actually the ratings are not bad considering the other programs on the network. Honestly the Blacklist and CF will fall in the ratings. Blacklist 2.2 / CF 1.9 by May.
    ParentHood had a good run and SVU is not doing much better than Revolution. SVU/ParentHood cancelled.
    Revolution moves to Friday’s after Grimm.

  • Rich

    @ Shepard

    I’m not worried about OUATIW getting renewed since the creators only ever intended for it to be one season anyway. What I am worried about is that the season airs its entire run. If they do pull it from Thursdays after episode 3 airs, they should move the remaining episodes to OUAT’s vacant Sunday slot during the winter break.

    ABC already ordered more than 13 but less than 22 episodes for it. They promoted it more than the parent series this season. Someone there clearly believes in it.

  • a p garcia

    I am wondering at the IQ of ABC executives when they give AOS such positive reviews after a big drop-off from premiere episode. MJF is far from funny as it could be, seems like MJF forgot funny lessons learned from all his previous hit shows including Family Ties. I personally don’t think Bones can survive another season without David Borananz. I think ABC regrets its decision to cancel BOP.

  • Dan S

    I don’t care for the new bubble watch. Like others saying there are not enough shows on the bubble. Several shows like H50 & Nashville should be on the bubble not likely cancellation. Then you have a Tomorrow People after 1 airing predicting renewal. I found the show a complete bore & won’t be watching again. Wonderland was very entertaining & would love to see more of it. If it doesn’t drop it should be on the bubble for now. It looks great & I enjoyed it even more than OUAT.

  • Michael

    The Michael J Fox show should at least be on the bubble- it got a 1.2 last episode and might not be done falling yet.

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